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Mike's Blog - Day 213

The sweet chestnut was looking great yesterday. It’s not related to the horse chestnut/Buckeye (Aesculus) at all. That’s a bit confusing. It's actually much a closer relative to beech. If you compare the nuts and nut cases of beech and sweet chestnut you will see similarities. Not many nuts - the squirrels take them - but we never get a heavy crop this far north.

Here are the sweet chestnut shells and nuts.

Sweet chestnut is Castanea sativa so perhaps it’s no surprise that Spanish “Castanets” are named after this tree. It’s not clear if it’s the hard wood of Castanea that is good for making the little wooden clappers, or the resemblance of these little wooden things to chestnuts which were perhaps the original simple method of creating the “clacking” noise.

Nuts on string banging together? I can remember when I was a child I had a toy which had two hard plastic balls on each end of the string, and you held it in the middle by a ring and had to try and move it up and down fast to make the noise. It probably got banned. Anyone remember those?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNWLC16gyOk

In the final picture of its leaves on the ground, the two sets of leaves perhaps look similar, but the one on the left is from the sweet chestnut and the one on the right is not. The one on the right is actually an oak, Quercus, but it’s the oak that has leaves like a sweet chestnut, Quercus castanifolia.